There has been quite a bit of chatter on the Internet lately about Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited. In his book, Gerber proclaims that unless you have employees, you are NOT an entrepreneur. Without hiring employees, you are merely a “technician” doing what you always did. He goes on to say, “The purpose of going into business is to get free of a job so you can create jobs for other people.” This should come as shocking news to the 21.1 million non-employee businesses (70% of the total) in the U.S. (not to mention the world).
No, I do not believe Gerber’s premise for a second. Dozens of blogs and web sites offer definitions of what an entrepreneur is. There are also multiple dictionaries with definitions of the title, entrepreneur. They all say pretty much the same thing. Here is a compilation of those definitions:
An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business, usually with considerable initiative, while taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.
Michael offers a very good approach for growing a business by hiring employees, but I think he does a real disservice to the majority of small business owners who do not want to take on employees, or do not intend to grow beyond a certain point. These are the same businesses that pump a trillion dollars a year into the United States GDP. I can’t imagine what the world contribution is.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work and takes a lot of time, passion, money, and intestinal fortitude to become a successful businessperson. I believe every shop owner; every market vendor, every home-based business owner, and every non-employee business owner in the world fulfills the above definition and deserves to be called “Entrepreneur.”